Monday, May 9, 2016

Getting Older & Trying New Things

Still Life-Blue Fondant from JanetHillStudio
    Birthdays have always been a associated with disappointment for me.  Not just the recent ones, but the early ones too.  On the earliest birthday I can remember, another little girl blew out the candles on my cake and then threw a tantrum.  They didn't re-light the candles for me.  That was it.  She stole my wish and the birthday was over; let's eat cake!  There was the tweenage year that I told my backstabbing friend that I was going to have a big birthday party and she decided she would have a party too (even though her birthday was months away). She planned it for the weekend of my birthday and invited all our friends...except me. 
    On my thirteenth birthday, everyone forgot, except my mom who wished me a quick happy birthday on her way out the door as she headed to work.  And that was that.  Birthday over; no cake.  There was the 15th birthday my dearly loved grandmother died. On my 16th birthday I said goodbye to all my friends as they went back to school and I chose a different path of homeschooling and beginning college early.  And the list goes on and on.  Not all bad of course, but the good ones seemed more sparsely occurring than the bad after a while.
    I really am very blessed and I don't like to linger on disappointments.  To counteract the growing dread of birthdays, I decided on my 18th birthday that each year I would stop expecting other people to make my birthday great and start focusing on doing something for myself.  It had to be something I had always wanted to do, but for whatever reason (fear, finances, or just a hectic schedule) I had never done.  I was now solely responsible for making this day great and memorable or just another year turning over.  In this small way, birthdays improved. 
    One year I turned my curly lion's mane hair into a sleek pixie cut.  One year I decided to try skate boarding (the first time I hit a rock and went flying off that board face first, I realized there are good reasons for not doing certain things).  One year I had just become a mother for the second time and sat in the midst of all the chaos and the messy house to soak in all the joy I felt over having these two precious girls.  One year I started my own jewelry business, an endeavor which lasted for several successful years.  And one year, I threw a fancy tea party complete with frilly dresses, pearls, finger sandwiches and french macrons for my girls and me.  These are things I may not have made a permanent part of my life, but I would definitely have regretted it if I had never tried them.  They made that day memorable and if not always good then at least very interesting.
Portrait-The English Major from JanetHillStudio
    That brings us to this year.  This year is kind of a big deal.  It marks the approximate half-way point of my life.  It's startling to think that half of my life is over.  I don't know why it's so looming this year.  I didn't fall apart at 29 or 30.  But, this past year has been full of doctor visits for various reasons, and at each of them my younger-than-me doctors have reminded me that some of these issues are unavoidable as I become "older," "middle aged," or, my favorite term, "advanced maternal age."  Funny, I was feeling on top of the world, not over the hill.
    All those words describing me in a way I hadn't considered myself before really has me thinking about my life and contemplating what to do this year.  I'll admit that there's a small part of me that feels on the verge of falling apart and having a midlife crisis, but there are too many people depending on me for that.  Plus, it sounds like a lot of drama and drama is such an unpleasant chore. 
   What should I do this year?  Tattoos?  Piercings? Smoking? Wild Hair?  Done, done, done, and done.  Painting? Photography? Foreign Travel?  Check, check, check.  Sewing? Fitness? Gardening? All done or at least attempted.  Now, I'm at a bit of a loss.  What should I do to mark this momentous day, this personal milestone?  I'm sure the sure the answer will come in time for the big day; it's still a few months away.  Until then though, I'm open to suggestions.
Still Life-The Go Getter from JanetHillStudio


  1. Wow. Though I've longed admired your pictures on Modcloth (and now, this blog) and felt some connection to you in that our personal style, favorite shops, body type and coloring is incredibly similar, I never realized the depth of our shared experience until today's post and felt as though I could have written it myself. Your entire treatise on birthdays was so similar to own life, it's astonishing. I also graduated high school early and started college and homeschooled my son until the last couple years. I, too, have been faced with some recent health concerns (no real problems)and as a result, my mortality. I turn 39 in a few months and my son will be turning 18 around the same time, which has evoked all sorts of emotions. I also have been wondering what new passion/hobby/experience to pursue and come up empty (though I am still considering an aerial acrobatics class and a hot air balloon ride, haha). I, too, have felt as though I might break down on my worst days, but thankfully, it hasn't come to that. It's such a comfort that I'm not alone in all these uncertainties and I hope it is comforting for you as well. Your exquisite taste and sophisticated sense of style has been inspiring for me and I wish you much success in finding your next exciting adventure. There are still so many to be found. Have a spectacular birthday (in a few months)!

  2. Interesting post. Maybe the brave new frontier is letting yourself sit back and let the family you've made plan something for you. The joy of giving something wonderful to the people you love most in the world is a wonderful feeling, isn't it?

    Otherwise... buy yourself a hat you never would've worn 10 years ago, and make it work for you? (I'm into hats lately.)

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